STEVENS COUNTY, Wash. - A Stevens County judge decided Friday that Thomas and Theresa Hostetler will go to jail for two months after more than 40 animals were rescued from their property in May.
This animal abuse case has caught the attention of the local community. They filled the courtroom Friday to show the judge they wanted justice.
About two weeks ago, the Hostetlers pleaded guilty to three charges each of Animal Cruelty in the 2nd Degree, which are gross misdemeanor charges, not felonies. Mr. Hostetler also pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction.
The prosecution asked for jail time, and used photos to make their case. Some showed the dirt and debris both outside and inside of the Hostetlers home. Others showed the deplorable condition some of these animals were in.
Lawyers for each of the two defendants asked instead for community service, saying that the Hostetlers complied when asked to turn over the animals. Theresa Hostetler told the court that she would “never harm an animal intentionally.” Her husband echoed that point, saying he and his wife loved their animals.
In the end, the judge found that the negligence showed by the Hostetlers was enough to warrant two months in jail for each of them, with basically ten months suspended for two years. So, if they violate conditions during that time, they could go back.
The Hostetlers will not be allowed to own pets during that time, with the exception of one cat, who served as Mrs. Hostetler's doctor-approved service animals.
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